Limit this use of electronics that encourage sitting, such as: computers, laptops, controller based video games, and tablets. Get outdoors! The cold has its advantages, the biggest being that we burn slightly more calories than usual the longer we are outdoors
Free to Very Cheap
Playing in snow – shoveling, fort building, build snowmen. They now make snow block molds for more effective fort building that makes it look like a real fort. There are also instructions online for using the mold to build a real igloo.
Snow Castles - Create a snow castle like a sand castle at the beach; you can even use the same equipment.
Snow Art – Build a canvas out of snow and fill spray bottles with water and food coloring to spray the snow to give it some color.
Ice Art – Put water into several different shaped bowls, cups or buckets and allow them to freeze outside. Combine different shaped ice pieces to make sculptures or add to existing snow art or castles (snow can be used as mortar). If you have the time and a long freeze, you can freeze the ice in layers of different colors using food coloring.
If the ice gets stuck run the outside of the container under warm water until the ice falls out.
Outdoor Winter Competitions – Create competitions like farthest snowball thrown, works great on new snow where you can see a hole where it lands. Whose snowball can come closest to a target? The biggest snowball competition can be ongoing. Who can roll the biggest? Whose takes the longest to melt? Some may even last until the next storm and can be reused.
If you combine the biggest snowball competition with snow art, they can be made in to giant snow creations such as planets, a sports ball (basketball, baseball, etc.), or anything else a child may want.
Snow Obstacle Course - Have your kids build snow hurdles and/or tunnels the crawl through.
Treasure Hunts – Snow coming? Grab some dollar store items that are unlikely to break or be damaged by snow or getting stepped on and put them all over the yard. After the snow arrives you have a ready-made treasure hunt for your kids in your own yard. Depending on age, maybe make a treasure map.
Indoor fort building/Obstacle course - cushions, table clothes, blankets, pillows. Let them get creative.
Art projects – let them make decorations for their room and have them decorate.
Dance Party – Try keeping music on in the house, some children get easily motivated to dance around when a favorite song comes on. Many great dance videos can also be found on YouTube or other various video sites.
Cold Science –
1. Bring a balloon full of air outside and watch is shrink, bring it back inside to watch it return to normal.
2. Blow bubbles outside or in a garage. If it’s cold enough they almost seem to transform into pieces of plastic. Some may even roll around on the ground.
3. Under adult supervision, throw very hot or boiling water into the air and watch it instantly transform into snow. Must be VERY cold.
4. Let snowflakes land on black paper/cloth and look at them with a magnifying glass.Cooking – Choose something that has a lot of steps. Maybe even something you typically wouldn’t cook because of the amount of time it takes and have your child assist. Not only will the gain a bit of experience in the kitchen, but they may even have a greater appreciation of how tough it can be.
Make maple candy (in the snow) – Various different ideas can be found online. Here is one link:
Animal Tracks – Find animal tracks, draw what they look like then search for the animals online.Moderately Cheap or a Low One Time Cost
Ice skating – Free if the weather is fair, small cost for indoor rinks.
Ice Fishing – After the purchase of an auger, cheap set ups can even be made at home.
Sledding/Tubing – If items are properly stored they will last years.
Yoga – One of the few exercise classes that can be appropriate even for children. It is also possible to watch free videos of yoga on the computer or on your television providers free On Demand programming.
High Cost or High Initial Cost
Active video games – games for the Wii Fit, Playstation Move, or XBox Kinect.
Gym/YMCA memberships – Many offer school age programming.
Still struggling for ideas? Try Pinterest, that is exactly why it was created, for sharing ideas.Here are a few additional resources: